Tag: Brian Lee


Sandis Ozolinsh calls it a career


Arguably the greatest Latvian hockey player ever is hanging up his skates.

Defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh, a seven-time NHL All-Star and Stanley Cup champion, announced his retirement from professional hockey on Tuesday, per Latvian news outlet Sporta Centrs.

Ozolinsh, 41, was taken 30th overall at the 1991 NHL Entry Draft by San Jose and enjoyed success with the Sharks — he still holds the franchise record for points by a defenseman in a single season (64) — but garnered his highest accolades with Colorado in the late 90s.

He won a Stanley Cup with the Avs in ’96, scoring 19 points in 22 playoff games, and finished third in Norris voting a year later, behind Vladimir Konstantinov and eventual winner Brian Leetch.

From there, Ozolinsh would bounce around the league with stops in Carolina, Florida, Anaheim (with whom he’d get to another Cup Final) and New York, before taking a year’s hiatus from hockey and returning to the KHL for Latvian club side Dinamo Riga in 2009. In the KHL, Ozolish re-established himself as an elite-level defenseman, appearing in four All-Star Games while making one final appearance for the Latvian national team at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, leading his country to a near upset of Canada in the tournament quarterfinals.

Ozolinsh retires as the highest-scoring Latvian NHLer of all time, and will now reportedly turn his attention to the political realm.

‘There’s always the temptation of July 1,’ says Callahan’s agent

Ryan Callahan

The Tampa Bay Lightning have made it clear they want to re-sign Ryan Callahan, and Callahan has said he’s enjoyed his time with the Bolts.

But will any of that outweigh the potential of free agency?

“There’s always the temptation of July 1st,” Callahan’s agent, Steve Bartlett, told the Tampa Tribune. “You don’t get that many times in your career, especially at the peak of your career.

“Those are what you have to balance, the positive and all the good things he knows about Tampa, and what is his right, you have the opportunity to at least hear other people. That doesn’t mean Tampa wouldn’t be his first choice.”

Callahan, 29, should have a number of suitors if he does go to July 1. A Rochester native, he’s already been linked to a potential hometown return to Buffalo, and it’s possible a team with the requisite salary cap space could make a splash and pay Callahan the reported $45.5-$49 million he was seeking on a new deal.

Don’t forget that, despite the fact he’s not an offensive superstar, Callahan does carry some clout. He’s a two-time U.S. Olympian and captained one of the NHL’s most storied franchises (his predecessors in New York? Chris Drury, Jaromir Jagr, Mark Messier and Brian Leetch.)

He also brings a physical, two-way game to the table — Callahan finished fourth in Selke voting in 2012 — and that’s a far cry from some of the other big-name forwards projected to be available this summer, like Marian Gaborik, Thomas Vanek and Mike Cammalleri.

And, hey, let’s be real… few players pass up a crack at having teams bid for their services. We saw it last year with the likes of Valtteri Filppula, David Clarkson and Ryane Clowe, all of whom cashed in during free agency.

In light of this, it’s no surprise Bartlett can’t rule out his client going to market — even though both he and Callahan seem to like Tampa Bay.

“I have no doubt that (a lot) of teams will have interest in Ryan Callahan,” Bartlett said. “But, at the same time,  I can say Tampa made a very good case for itself.”

Report: Quintal to become NHL’s new discipline czar (Update: It’s official)

Stephane Quintal

In the wake of Brendan Shanahan taking the Maple Leafs’ presidency, reports claim Shanny’s right-hand man in the player safety department, Stephane Quintal, is set to become the NHL’s new chief disciplinarian.

According to Montreal’s La Presse, Quintal will assume the role immediately. The former Boston, St. Louis, Winnipeg, Montreal, New York Rangers and Chicago defenseman was brought into the disciplinary department in 2011 under the Player Safety Manager role and, according to Sportsnet, will be overseen by NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly while working with the existing disciplinary group that includes Patrick Burke and Brian Leetch.

Most recently, Quintal served on the Olympic disciplinary committee at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi.

Update: The NHL has made the move official, per the following release…

At the direction of NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, Brendan Shanahan immediately relinquished responsibility for overseeing the League’s Department of Player Safety upon accepting the position of President of the Toronto Maple Leafs yesterday afternoon.

Effective with Thursday night’s games and for the balance of the regular season and throughout the upcoming Stanley Cup Playoffs, Stephane Quintal assumes the role of conducting hearings and administering supplementary discipline.

The National Hockey League has a first-rate and fully functional team of professionals staffed in the Player Safety Department that will continue to monitor all plays in all games and to flag plays that warrant review and potential discipline. There will be no change in the approach that has been established by the Department of Player Safety and the League will take all steps necessary to ensure a consistent standard of enforcement and application of discipline for the balance of this season.